Newcastle Benfield 1
Hebburn Town 3
Newcastle Benfield crashed to defeat in their final fixture before Christmas as Hebburn Town left Walkergate with all three points on Saturday.
The opening exchanges were pretty even as both sides started with attacking intent. For the lions, Cyril Giraud had an early effort on goal but ex Blyth Spartans goalkeeper Mark Foden saved the effort relatively comfortably.
The first goal was to come in the 7th minute as Hebburn Town took an early lead. From a corner there was a flick on and young Oliver Martin diverted a header past Andrew Grainger.
Both sides continued to play on the front foot and Benfield certainly did not let the early goal affect them too much. After a free kick was awarded on the edge of the area, Paul Brayson forced Foden into a save which the recent signing just about had under control.
Mechack Kanda then had a half chance to level from a diving header but unfortunately lost his bearings and the chance went harmlessly behind.
For the visitors, Michael Richardson was pulling the strings in the centre but a reshuffle was needed after half an hour when the injured Ben Dibb-Fuller was replaced by Lewis Suddick.
With 3 minutes to go before the interval, Hebburn were to double their lead after Robbie Spence found himself in space and was able to fire past Grainger in the lions goal. What was now a difficult hurdle to overcome became a mountain in stoppage time as Hebburn added a third. Michael Richardson took a corner which found Louis Storey and the centre half’s fine header looped into the Benfield net.
The lads returned a few minutes earlier than Hebburn as they looked to repair the damage in the second 45 minutes. However, it was the visitors who had the first real opportunity as Richardson curled a free kick into the arms of Andrew Grainger.
After 50 minutes the fight back was on as Benfield pulled a goal back. The move was one of the best of the afternoon from a Benfield attacking perspective as an excellent interchange between Paul Brayson and Cyril Giraud resulted in the youngster placing a lovely effort past a despairing Foden in the Hornets goal.
Unfortunately the goal did not open the floodgates as Hebburn were able to regroup and maintain a two goal advantage. Benfield should have probably had a free kick after Kanda appeared to be impeded as he broke into the Hebburn half but nothing was given. Moments later Hebburn were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position and clearly still feeling hard done by, Kanda was sin binned for dissent in the aftermath of the decision being given. There was no additional punishment as the free kick came to nothing and Benfield were able to adjust whilst down to ten men.
Although the lads continued to press for a second, there would be no way back as Hebburn were able to see out the remainder of the contest relatively unscathed and indeed even had a couple of excellent chances to extend their advantage.
With no game during Christmas week, the lads will be able to dust themselves down over the festive period.
Our next fixture is a trip to Consett on Saturday 27th (3.00pm).
Match report Kev Larkham
Action Photos Sean Harrison CNC Photography